Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sincere Recommendations of Two Life Changing Books

I am a past tense reader of much in Christian Books. I have hundreds I have read and have become discouraged in the reading. When I go to our local Christian Bookstore (Johns) I peruse what is available and find most to be empty and frankly useless. Most of what is sold in Christian books, even bestsellers, are marginally Christian and barely books.

I’m not talking books that have stood the test of time, Andrew Murray, Spurgeon, etc.

I’m talking about books written by Authors of today. I buy them. I read them and I discard them. Nearly all are wastes of time. I do not buy the idea that “If we get just ONE idea from a conference or book it’s worth it all”. I even wrote one and I’m not sure of it.

I learned to take good notes in college. I can go to a conference (as I did last week) and could give any sermon I heard because I take good notes. I have boxes of notes. Most are redundant. A few are revealing. I believe only the Holy Spirit can take a truth and make it come alive just for you to be worthwhile in your life. I bought a book at the conference that Peggy read and she said it shook her. I read the same book, TWICE and I didn’t get the same reaction.

That’s the Holy Spirit in action. The reaction she had was just for her. That’s OK.

But, to the point:

There are two books that I can report which changed my life spiritually for the better. Turned me spiritually upside down. I say this because I recommend them to you.

One I read a few years ago. If you haven’t read it, do. You will see yourself and your Christian walk in a whole new way.

That book is The Final Quest by Rick Joyner.

If you google this book you will find plenty of anger and hatred on the web about this book. The evangelical fundamentalist community despises and attacks anything that rattles their little world view. This book does. You read it and you decide.

The second I read just this week. It was recommended to me by Brad Hampton of Faith Center in Rockford. He said, "Gene, This will change your life". Big claim but I trust him, so, off to Johns I went. I bought one. I read it. I’m still reeling spiritually.

There is theology in the book that I am not in complete agreement with. But for the most part it is sound in it’s concept. The purpose of the book is to ask you a core question, “What are your motives, why do you do what you do?” For the most part after reading the book I came to the conclusions my motives are not pure. I do things for selfish gain sometimes. My wife tells me I’m (I can’t say it, I must spell it) H-U-M-A-N. I joke of course but sometimes the hubris of life makes some people think they are not. Read post directly below.

The name of this pivotal work is Driven by Eternity by John Bevere

Click on the link above and scroll down to read the comments from people who have read this book. I can only say AMEN to them all.

If you are a Christian, and you want to see your Christian walk without the rose colored glasses you will want to read these two books. My hope is as a result of these you will recommend them to others. I am of the sincere opinion that the revival we all long for will come from a renewed commitment on the part of those who call themselves Christ Followers and a renewal of the fear of God.

Anything less is apostasy. I’m afraid it’s a rampant disease in the Church of Jesus today.

Teachability and the Achillies Heel

I remember years ago reading about Hubris and how it could be the downfall of any of us. I have never forgotten that lesson. I have had to learn it so many times.

But sometimes life comes along and offers additional education. I don't think I wanted to become this smart this late in life at such a high tuition cost. I just got whacked again. I won't bore you with it but because I have sold so much nursery stock and made decent money doing so I made a really dumb mistake that cost me a nice chunk of change. Worse I can only blame one person. ME!

Why did it happen? Hubris. I know what I'm doing, I'm experienced, I'm able, I'm competent, I have it together and frankly you would have a hard time telling me how to do what I do. I know better. That makes me incredibly vulnerable to hubris. My excellence is my greatest weakness. Achilles heel. Where I am weak I am careful and make few dumb mistakes. Where I am strong I can become arrogant and confident to the point where I fall in the one area I'm best at. Achilles strikes again.

I see this with others too. I associate with many Pastors. Those who are most able and gifted many times translate that ability to believing they have answers and abilities they don't possess in other areas. Therefore they move ahead with programs and policies and fall on their face or worse do nothing at all believing that somehow things will all work out. One I am thinking about has no one he is accountable or submitted to and is on an absolute course of disaster. Forget trying to tell him. He knows better. God is on his side. I'll be there to help him pick up the pieces when he fails but it looks like he's got his thumb located directly under the falling hammer.

When I am terrified at failing I do much better. When I enter into a thing that is at the core of my ability I am unteachable. Hence I don't know I can fail and am shocked when I do.

I think we all are.

I am re-examining my life as a result of this faux pax. The net question is, What core abilities do I have that have the potential of being an Achilles heel for me?What am I so good at that life or others can't help me see the error of my ways?

That is my Achilles heel, my blind spot, my area of unteachablitiy.

What are you really good at, very competent at, excellent at, experienced in, educated of, well read in, even respected by your peers for; I submit to you, THAT is YOUR Achilles heel, your area of unteachablity. The very thing that makes you strong is your area of greatest weakness and vulnerability.

I'm discovering (again) mine. How bout you? It's not too late to start. The hammer is falling.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The CURSE of the Power Struggle

I wrote a book on marriage, it is now in it's third printing. A copy of the book is located here. I am adding a chapter today. This is an area I have studied and brought this concept to a couple of Pastors to review. I believe I am right on this. I submit it for your consideration. Comments are appreciated.

The Curse of the Power Struggle

One benefit of becoming a Christian is the fact that the curse resulting from the rebellion in the Garden of Eden has been repealed by the Blood of Jesus. For instance, we no longer die but we live again in Christ. We work, but God blesses the work of our hands supernaturally. Of course, thistles still grow. But we are to have dominion over the earth.

There is an element of the curse that is not widely shared. I believe it is not shared because of political correctness. I have never been particularly politically correct. So, hang on.

Let me be bold. When God pronounced the curse on Satan, Adam and Eve at the fall, to Eve he said an unusual thing:

Genesis 3:16 Then he said to the woman, "You will bear children with intense pain and suffering. And though your desire will be for your husband,[a] he will be your master."
a. Or And though you may desire to control your husband.

This footnote is from the New Living Translation which I find very accurate. Many people as they have interpreted this maintain that because childbirth was now to be a painful experience that God was making sexual desire in women a curse. How can that be?

I don’t agree. I’m may be in the minority. But I’m not alone. Several Bible Scholars agree with me. For Example:

Yet this does not make much sense as a curse. Why should a woman's desire for her husband cause him to dominate her? Most men would gladly accept his wife's desires for him, causing him to treat her more gently rather than roughly, as is implied in this verse. How are we to understand this?
Richard T. Ritenbaugh

Is it possible that part of the curse of the fall is a continual power struggle between husband and wife? I believe it is.

Consider the battles royal that go on in non-Christian households. She wants this, he wants that. They fight about things, people, money, relationships and a hundred other big and small things.

When there is a household out of order it can be one where HE is domineering and she is simply a doormat or SHE is a shrew and controls everything and he is a whipped milquetoast.

In both cases this is not as it should be.

This certainly is not as it should be in a Christian marriage. The power struggle was settled at the cross. Jesus is Lord of all, which includes your marriage. Then Jesus implements an organizational structure that makes the husband the head of the home and he is supposed to rule and love as Jesus loves and rules the Church as his bride. (He gives up his life for her and as men that’s what we are to do).

The Devil is in the business of destroying homes, Christian or Not. So he aggravates the curse and propagates this monumental power struggle.

Sadly many good people who profess Jesus as Savior reject him as Lord. They reject him in the power struggle that goes on every day in their home which manifest itself as manipulation, pressure, threats, pouting, temper tantrums, anger, silence and all kinds of other ungodly tactics straight from the pit of hell. This is true regardless of gender. It’s ungodly no matter how is comes off.

What is however covered directly under the curse God pronounced is when a woman wants to control the purse and apron strings in her home as she uses whatever power she can to do so. This is a manifestation of the fall of Man. A curse on wives.

So, what do you do if you are a man and you are married to a wife who controls and manipulates your every move? Who uses the most underhanded threats to push you around? Who will not allow you to make the decisions you were destined by God to make?

First, you must know that no one can make you feel inferior without your permission. She is doing that to you. By your reaction you have given her permission. Not allowing you to be the man she wishes you were by her pressure is causing you to be the man she wishes you were NOT. A paradox.

Second, you must take a stand and prepare to stand the consequences. If you can’t you will continue to sanction ungodly behavior in your wife. You cannot allow this to continue. As painful as it may be you must call this bluff, even if it’s not a bluff. Then, if your stand causes even more problems, even to threatening your marriage, it will surface the root of sin in the whole episode. Right now both you and your wife are in a state of denial. You both know things are out of order. You have both bought into the democracy of marriage. It’s not a democracy. It’s a theocracy and you represent the Theocrat in marriage order.

Third, this is a spiritual issue. You are not at war with your wife. You are in conflict with the devil’s influence. She is not the devil any more than the apostle Peter was when Jesus told him “get thee behind me Satan”. But, you must recognize that the control factor in your wife is a spiritual issue. If she was submitted fully to Jesus at a deeper level you could expect her to respond in a deeper way. She is living on spiritual pabulum. You, her husband, must wash her with the word of spiritual regeneration. She must come to the place where she begins to recognize who she is in Jesus and who He is in you. This is terribly deceptive ground. Most of the time it revolves around money. Money is deceitful above all things, and it is at the root of all kinds of evil.

Get your priorities right and things will come into order. Jesus must be first, all the things of Jesus must be first, His word, what you watch, what you look at, what you do, who and where you fellowship. If you are not getting balanced encouragement in this area, find a Church that believes the word of God. Second in order is your Wife. A distant third is your Kids. Fourth friends and last your job.

If you make Jesus really first, she will follow.

If you are the wife of one of these doormat husbands you are out of order. You not in God’s will in your marriage. You don’t understand the gift of God that is your husband. You are to be subject to him. The devil has you deceived. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but the truth can set you and him free.

Last, Men, if you would have your wife be in order according to Jesus you must be Jesus to her. This means making good decisions, being loving, caring, and most of all forgiving, even when she’s a total shrew.

You will change he by your stoic focused behavior, not by giving in. Consider this, sometimes she might be crying out for you to take spiritual leadership in the home and call the empty bluff she makes. I refer you to the chapter called, “Checking Your Oil”.

It could save your marriage.

Or, it could reveal that what you have isn’t a real marriage. Do you want your heart broken now or later. Do you want to start working on having a spiritually sound and in order household now or later.

The BAD news is, there is no later, only now.

From the Email Spam File, Too Funny not to Reprint

Primer on THE BLUES

If you are into Blues music, or like it, but never really understood the why and wherefores, here are some fundamental rules:

1. Most Blues begin with: "Woke up this morning"

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it.

Then find something that rhymes - sort of: "Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weigh 500 pound."

4. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch... ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or anywhere in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Memphis and Nawlins are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that don't get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the Blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg 'cause you were skiing is not the Blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chomping on it is.

9. You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues:
a. highway
b. jailhouse
c. empty bed
d. bottom of a whiskey glass

11. Bad places for the Blues:
a. Nordstrom's
b. Art gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. golf courses

12. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

13. Do you have the right to sing the Blues?
Yes, if:
a. you're older than dirt
b. you're blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis
d. you can't be satisfied

No, if:
a. you have all your teeth
b. you were once blind but now can see
c. the man in Memphis lived
d. you have a 401K or trust fund

14. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. TigerWoods cannot sing the Blues. Sonny Liston could have. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the Blues.

15. If you ask for water and your darlin' gives you gasoline, it's the Blues.
Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
a. cheap wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. black coffee

The following are not Blues beverages:
a. Perrier
b. Chardonnay
c. Snapple
d. Slim Fast

16. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So are the electric chair, substance abuse and dying lonely on a broken-down cot.

You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.

17. Some Blues names for women:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling

18. Some Blues names for men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

19. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

20. Blues Name Starter Kit:
a. name of a physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
b. first name (see above) plus name of a fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc.)
c. last name of a President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
For example: Blind Lime Jefferson, Pegleg Lemon Johnson or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (Well, maybe not "Kiwi.")

21. And I don't care how tragic your life is, if you are reading this because you own a computer you cannot sing the blues.

Hat Tip: Stella and Ken

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Last Night, I got one of those infinite forwarded emails we all get. It was from the poor woman who raised me after my folks died. Ruth Redlin. As the Muslims say, "Blessings be upon Her".

Many times I get these fowards and they have been forwarded 30 times. Usually before I get that far It's deleteville for me.

But this was good. Exceptional even. Sappiness overlooked. Sometimes quality is better.

Look at this, if it don't thrill you a bit you're dead.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Ubiquitous Black Bag

I just flew in from Columbus OH (man are my arms tired). Sorry, I can’t help myself.

I was there doing some technical expert work as I do from time to time.

In picking up my Olive Drab luggage from the carousel I took note of the black bag invasion. EVERYONE has a black bag. They all look alike.

Who buys a square black rollerbag so you can touch every one that comes off the carousel to find yours? They all look exactly alike. I don’t get it. When I bought the bag I have now I was very careful to find one that was distinctive. That way when the bag burper burps my bag I can immediately identify it.

Maybe those who have the little black bags have RFID chips in them. Maybe it’s like that March of the Penguins things. They all look alike except to mom and dad penguin.

All I know is I refuse to be a sheep. They must be cheap, those black bags, but don’t they come in ANY other color than black? I did get a roller bag. It’s fire engine red. I never use it.

Or maybe it’s like the model T. You can have any color you want as long as it’s black.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

That Car Doesn’t Owe me a THING!

I grew up a gearhead. Rock and Roll, Hot Cars. The 60’s.

Two things we always said, "I trust that car so much I wouldn't be afraid to drive it to California". And, if we had fixed on a car long enough, "That car don’t owe me a thing". We felt like a hero if we got to see the odometer cross 100,000 miles. That was 1963.

As an older driver I want a car that works. I want a car that I can trust. But I don’t like the depreciation involved in buying a new car. So, when I buy a vehicle, it can plan on going to the moon before I give up on it. Moon?

The moon is 240,000 miles away. So, my goal is to get 240,000 miles on every car I own. I have succeeded a couple times. Mostly they get to about 200,000 and they start to drift. The big lie in car repair is “It’s nickel and dimeing me to death”. Another is, “The repair needed is more than the car is worth”. That may be true but if you can drive it another year with the repair you bought miles. Forget car value, buy miles.

If you fix what’s wrong right away it won’t nickel and dime you to death. The big reason people get frustrated is the electric window quits, then one light goes out, then it misfires some, then the brakes make noise, then the muffler goes out and then it hacks and coughs when you drive. Pretty soon it’s a basket case. Fix it when it breaks and you won’t have this problem. You build a mountain of repairs and then tear out your hair. The new car dealers love you.

An auto repair company, Merlins has just changed its company name to 200,000 Mile Shops. I understand and agree with the concept. They have a pretty good analysis of the situation. You make money by keeping the old girl running. Fix it when it breaks. Read the whole thing. You just might change your mind about going out and getting the newest rice burner on the market for $40,000.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hyperactive isn’t always Hyper Good

I have noticed a trend among people on the radio, people in business, people in ministry, people who are just plain hyper.

ADHD is the modern term for this syndrome.

Have you ever seen Glen Beck’s program on headline News? Very entertaining but he has an attention span of a two-year-old child.

I have a pastor friend who never reads this blog so I’m safe. He is so hyper that he tries to do 3 things at once and always fails. When he talks to me (which I avoid) he is looking over my shoulder. I don’t know how he stays married. Frankly he barely does and I understand her frustration.

I do business with some landscapers who are so hyper that they harass me to my limits.

I have learned not to sanction or encourage this behavior. The inability to concentrate, stay focused or do deliberative consideration is a weakness these people don’t grasp.

I am happy that among most of my good friends there are few who I allow to abuse me with the inattention the ADHD lifestyle seems to manifest. If you don’t pay attention, I’ll ignore you too.

I have had the misfortune to have people under me who were this kind of talk talk talk rattle on types who couldn’t listen if you forced them. I have sometimes had to grab them by the hand, look them straight in the eye, yell at them, say “STOP TALKING AND LISTEN”. Then they usually start talking about why they talk so much. Then I yell, SHUT UP! Cruel? Maybe, but is it more cruel to sanction this kind of aberrant behavior by pretending it's not a problem? Particularly if this person works for you? I think real cruelty is not dealing with it here and now. By the way, those people that I have had to deal with in this brutal manner were better afterwards. They knew I wouldn’t tolerate the babble. They shut up.

The real crime is these people never develop the social skill of listening or hearing. The mouth they have is their worst enemy. It's always getting them in trouble. They are so distracted by so much that they can’t take direction, can’t follow a series of instructions, can’t reason without talking past the point. It’s a handicap in society to be one of these poor souls.

I could blame it on all the gadgets we live with. I could blame it on TV. I could blame the school system.

I blame a lack of discipline. I blame lazy parents. I blame a culture that seems to reward and encourage this kind of inanity.

If you are one of those bouncing off the wall types, I’ll catch you later. A LOT LATER.

An Amazing Update.

Yesterday Tuesday I get a call from the Pastor Friend I mention.

He's calling to talk policy in his fellowship, he has another cell phone which rings 3 times while he's talking to me and trying to drive, the radio is blaring and he's reading a map.

Needless to say I didn't have his undivided attention although I tried to give him mine.

And he kept saying, "Sorry Gene" when he would force me to listen to someone elses conversation on the other phone. Then he had the audacity to ask, "what were we talking about?".

He had forgotten.

That gives you a clue as to how important he thinks I am. How much he values our "friendship". I pity his parish.

Remember this all happens when he calls ME. I'm not angry, it's just an example.

And believe me, this kind of self importance will be the death of him.

I will not be treated pejoratively. Frankly these inattentive self centered people think they are being caring. One of them said to me once after a particualrly bad row with another person, "But Gene, I'm the most caring person I know". I had to contain myself.

Please call me when you want to TALK!

I’m thankful for the Iraq Invasion and as far as it has gone

I was thinking about the men lost in the battle for Okinawa in the Second World War. Many many more than have been lost in Iraq. But having that base for our American Marines and Air Force kept a lid on Japan and Korea and maybe China during the post war years as things settled out. What stirred me was the death of the man that took the famous flag raising picture.

Now with Iranian nutcases on the loose, Syrian Collaborators and other Islamic Fascists running rampant we must be thankful for the fact that we have Air Base Baghdad. Wouldn’t it be something today if we had not taken steps to establish this.

I f am not pleased at the fact that we are bogged down, I am pleased that we are there at all. This was a gamble. All the dice haven’t yet been thrown. I’m still on the line. I think a wider more aggresive stance in Iraq would be good right now as things have quieted down.

Is it worth it? For sure! Kurdistan no matter what will stand as a republic unto itself even if everything else fails.

So, let’s see. A free democratic Kurdistan, Air Baghdad, small gains but gains nonetheless.

All the whole deal isn’t in yet. Easy to Monday Morning Quarterback at the beginning of the season. It takes vision to get to the Superbowl no matter how last weeks game went.

If we do not grow weary by the press trying to wear us down we will reap if we do not faint.